The recent college admissions scandal in America brought to mind a story from the Bible. It holds a lesson for all of us.
[Darris McNeely] Recently, a scandal erupted in the United States where they showed that a lot of very wealthy families were paying people or paying some preparer to get their children into the elite schools with bribes of up to half a million dollars, when the kids did not have the qualifications to get into some of these top schools in America. Huge, huge scandal. It reminded me of a story in the Gospels, where the mother of the sons of Zebedee who were James and John, two of the disciples that Christ had, came to Christ.
The story is told it in Matthew 20, beginning in verse 20, where she came and she actually knelt before Christ and asked something of him. Christ said, “What would you like?” And she said to him, “Grant that my two sons may sit one on your right hand and one on your left in the Kingdom.” So, James and John’s mother, who’s not even mentioned by name here, was kind of like a stage mother. She was wanting and advocating for her two sons, the two top positions with Christ. And here’s what Jesus said, “You don’t even know what you ask. Are you able to drink the cup that I am about to drink, and be baptized with the baptism I am to be baptized with?” Then of course, they said, “Well, we are.” But he said, “You will indeed drink my cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I’m baptized with. But to sit on my right hand, and on my left is not mine to give, but it is for those to whom is prepared by my Father.”
Then He went on to give some very good instruction about service and having the heart, mind of a servant. But He said, “You will indeed drink my cup, and it’s a cup and a position that all of this will be prepared by my Father.” But he was really saying you’re not ready yet, you have to put in your time. Now, the concept of drinking from the cup of Christ is a rather large one, as it is told in scriptures. Because in this case, James eventually is going to be martyred by one of the Herod’s and he will indeed drank a very bitter cup. Peter will live out his life and he too will be martyred. But Jesus is saying you have to be prepared for that top position, for any position that we might desire to be in. And when you see, you know, in our modern time, parents buying their children’s way into a top university when the children have not put in the time, prepared themselves academically and made the grades worthy of those institutions but only because they have money they get in, you recognize that they are not prepared.
God is preparing us and He says we are to drink a cup. That has many applications and many meanings. But certainly we must be prepared for any of the roles that we are going to play in life, and certainly in God’s ultimate Kingdom. We can’t buy our way in our name and someone else’s reputation can’t do it for us, we will all be held accountable. And that’s one of the lessons that Jesus talks about here, when He talks about drinking from that cup. And a cup of life indeed it is.
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